Zimpost seeks US$13m to bolster fleet


STATE-RUN postal services firm, Zimpost this week rebuffed fears that it could be overwhelmed by an influx of new technologies and would collapse, as it disclosed that it was recapitalising to meet surging demand.

Postal services worldwide have taken sharp knocks as new and efficient modes of telecommunications increase, replacing the traditional letter.

Last month, the South African post office was slapped with provisional receivership as debt mounted.

In an interview with businessdigest, Zimpost’s acting postmaster general Maxwell Chitendeni said the firm was scouting for up to US$13 million to recapitalise its fleet, which has benefitted from the spinoffs unlocked by an aggressive growth in e-commerce.

Chitendeni said while its traditional letters business was under pressure, Zimpost’s courier service was enjoying tremendous growth, which has guaranteed growth.

“In terms of volumes, we have seen an increase of 13% from what the company carried last year,” he said.

“But we are coming from a situation where our vehicle fleet is ageing, and this is why we are in the process of resuscitating our fleet. We are also looking for funding to procure new vehicles in order to enable us to compete with other courier service providers.

“Ideally, Zimpost would require funding to the tune of about US$13 million to recapitalise our fleet,” Chitendeni said.

The Zimpost boss said revenue was mostly driven by mail, freight and logistics services.

He said volumes were emanating from online shopping, where Zimpost offers last mile delivery services in Zimbabwe.

Chitendeni’s disclosures were a sharp contrast to the South African situation, and other postal firms worldwide that have struggled to deal with technologies.

SA Post Office’s financial situation demonstrated that it was beyond redemption last month, forcing authorities to place it under provisional liquidation.

This was after a creditor emerged successful in a court bid to have the state-owned entity go into receivership.

According to Daily Maverick, for 15 years, the firm had “sailed close to the wind as the state-owned enterprise recorded consecutive financial losses and continued to operate without paying its bills. 

“Being delinquent on its bills worsened in recent years, with the SA Post Office defaulting on rental payments to landlords for its nearly 1 300 branches, and owing the SA Revenue Service millions of rands for taxes relating to salary payments.

“It also could not afford to pay statutory contributions on behalf of its more than 10 000 workers, including medical aid, pension savings and Unemployment Insurance Fund benefits,” Daily Maverick noted.

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